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Well, I'm at the Master Gardener's office today, pitching in on the volunteer help line this morning. Wheeee! Here are some of the random questions I've gotten from the Public At Large:

  • "Can I shoot armadillos in my backyard?" Sir, you live in the center of a large metrpolis. If you want to go to jail, then by all means. Shoot away! ??

  • "Where can I find a cannon to get ducks off my lawn?" Seriously, this is the best one in the history of humanity. This man BOUGHT A HOUSE ON A LAKE. And doesn't like ducks on the bottom half of his four acres. So he's gonna set up a CANNON. And he's all crotchety and curmudgeon esque. Good lord, get a dog.

  • "Is it a problem that bees are 'growing' in my house?" Okay, this is actually tricky one. Does he mean a HIVE is growing? Because yes, that's an expensive problem best handled ASAP. Or does he mean he has MUTANT BEES in his house? Because he needs to see the guy with the cannon and ducks. Or the armadillo cowboy.

  • "How can I stop my oaks from making acorns?" Cut the tree down. DON'T PLANT OAK TREES. What???

  • "My grass is turning brown and dying. What can I do?" Um, wait until March. We live where grass dies in winter. I can't stress how panicked this guy was. OMG my grass!! MY GRASS!!!

  • from a walk-in: "How do I crack black walnuts?" He had a huge sack of walnuts, which I guess we were going to need for all of our experiments. I imagined some Rube Goldberg type contraptions involving the various taxidermied animals here for the Animal Control office, pruning sheers, and the cases of butterflies. Instead, I just told him to get a hammer. The contraptions would have been more fun, especially since I would have made the Pee Wee's Big Adventure music.


In other news, BORAT comes out today, whee!! Also, I'm going to write up a storm this weekend, which will please me greatly. I have more recs to post, but I'll wait until monday when all the remaining sitcomathon fics have come in. HAPPY FRIDAY, WHEEE!

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
trepkos
Nov. 3rd, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC)
Don't even get me started on the animal slaughter, but

"How can I stop my oaks from making acorns?"

stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 08:30 pm (UTC)
I KNOW. I know. People? They are not of the smartness all the time, that is for sure.

(And to put your mind at ease, our Animal Control picks up the traps and releases them back into wilderness.)
entrenous88
Nov. 3rd, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
Omg, I heart the guy with the bag of walnuts! Too bad you didn't get together and do like eighteen different ways, to figure out the absolute best way of getting them open! Then you could document it, and it would air on The Food Network under the title "That's a Tough Nut To Crack!"

Future episodes could involve unwanted acorns!
stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
I would have loved to have had some Wonka Squirrels to tell me before I tried to crack them if they were going to be good nuts or not! But Daddy, I want one nooooooooooooow!

Oooh, that's a PERFECT FN show name, hahahaha! And there could be a shot of me in a tree telling the history of humans eating walnuts, then cut to the ACTION!
rahirah
Nov. 3rd, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
To be fair to the acorn guy, I've heard there's some kind of spray you can spray on olive trees to prevent them from making olives.
stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
Could be (but why???) but fruit trees and nut trees aren't the same baby.

That olive oil (huh huh) is probablya winter-weight tree oil that keeps pollination from happening and is most likely a HUGE undertaking. (Spraying every 7-10 days during pollen season.)
rahirah
Nov. 4th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
I think it was mainly done by people who didn't want squashed olives all over their sidewalk. Or by people who are allergic to the pollen--my mom is deathly allergic to olive pollen; if she stands near a flowering olive for five minutes, her head explodes. I think it would be too much bother, myself.
midnightsjane
Nov. 3rd, 2006 07:36 pm (UTC)
*giggles madly*
"Where can I find a cannon to get ducks off my lawn?"
Well, if he wants to really make the neighbours want to find a real cannon to use on him, he could borrow one of the propane cannons the blueberry farmers use here...big bangs, but the birds learn to ignore it. The neighbours, not so much..
People are very odd.
stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
PROPANE CANNON. Okay, that's probably what he WANTS! But for GOD'S SAKE! WHy would you buy a lake front property in Texas if you don't like DUCKS? It's duck season all year long! (Not hunting, just... they're ALWAYS HERE.)
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
The guy with the dying grass is from Hawaii. So. No. :D (I don't things die in Hawaii - they just get overtaken by other plants.)

It was a really fun morning, until the cat lady called. She was basically lonely and wanted to know how to make her cats be friends. I couldn't get through to her that this was the HORTICULTURE line, but... (We get a lot of lonely older people that just need someone to talk to.)
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
I know - it makes me sad, too. I try and be happy and I have a fairly "youthful" voice, so they can project all their "grandbaby" need on me. There are a few other MGs who are curt and don't give in, but I just can't.
julia_here
Nov. 3rd, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
The question I still have not gotten a sensible answer to is how to deal with plum root-suckers. Because short of removing the top four feet of my soil, nothing works. And the cranky person who I last talked to at the master gardener's line just reamed me out for not mowing under the plum trees often enough to keep the suckers under control, and planting plum trees without understanding the hazard (Sir? You'll have to speak to the person who planted the damned things. Of course he's been dead since 1931).

I was once dragged over the coals in a garden forum for suggesting that the person who wished to find a way to keep garter snakes away from her yard would be better off working on her irrational phobias.

Julia, I'm sorry, but I'd just had to import garter snales after their winter den had been burned down in February, with the snakes in it.
stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
Well, the only thing I can think of about the plum suckers is to wack 'em with a hoe as soon as you see them. Anything else is going to damage the feeder roots, and as a result, damage the tree.

Could you put a hardscape where the suckers keep popping up? Like boulders, a thick gravel path?

People who are afraid of garter snakes that they'll most likely NEVER SEE in their garden need to calm the hell down. :)
julia_here
Nov. 3rd, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
The best thing, so far, has involved recycled wall-to-wall carpet and a foot and a half of pea gravel; the reason I have so much trouble with the suckers to begin with is that the plums are planted on a steep slope, in sand, and the feeder roots are constantly getting uncovered.

Gartersnakes are beautiful and shy and eat slugs and this woman wanted to kill the resident ones and snake-proof the yard. Because she was "creeped out" by snakes. Me, I'm creeped out by, say, cottonmouths and gabon vipers, and cautious of putting my hands in holes in the ground where rattlesnakes live, but being creeped out by a gartersnake is a sign of bad moral and intellectuazl values, or possibly mental illness.

Julia, carefully living in a part of the country where my snake-related values are rarely tested
stoney321
Nov. 3rd, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
Sounds like it's time to get some Boy SCouts to do a terraced slope project! I have a sharp incline on the side of my house (with loads of sun!) that I'm going to terrace so I can have plantings which will include a pecan tree, and the terraces will keep the nuts from rolling away from my grabby hands.

Cottonmouths and rattlesnakes are the devil.
demonqueen666
Nov. 5th, 2006 01:15 am (UTC)
"Is it a problem that bees are 'growing' in my house?" Okay, this is actually tricky one. Does he mean a HIVE is growing? Because yes, that's an expensive problem best handled ASAP. Or does he mean he has MUTANT BEES in his house? Because he needs to see the guy with the cannon and ducks. Or the armadillo cowboy.

OMG, you make me laugh so hard. MUTANT BEES...!!
domenowtrent
Nov. 5th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
Totally unrelated, but I have some Questions regarding leaving the church. SHHH DONT TELL MY BISHOP.
stoney321
Nov. 6th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
*ZIPS LIP* Ask away! Will answer any and all questions!!
domenowtrent
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)
OKay, so, three questions:
[1] How did you do it?
[2] Was it hard/did they give you guff?
[3] If I did it, do you think they would kick me out of BYU? because if i'm disfellowshiped or excommunicated, I would get kicked out.
stoney321
Nov. 6th, 2006 01:00 pm (UTC)
[1] write a formal letter to the Church Office stating in no uncertain terms that you a) disagree with the philosophies of the church, b) have no faith in Joseph Smith or current or all leaders as a prophet of god, c) be polite but sad and chagrined. (There's a form letter I can send you later.)
[2] No... but expect some prosyletizing from your local ward while your request is being processed. They'll try and help you come back to the fold unless you tell them to bug off.
[3] Yeah, you'll get kicked out. Because you ARE being excommunicated. You're having your records removed (be sure to ask for a copy of proof of this) which is the same as being excommunicated. SO. If you've only got a little more to go at BYU, I'd recommend sucking it up and getting the degree. If you're a Freshman? Errr. Where are you going to go? Do you have another college lined up? What about your family? It might be best to get the top-notch education (from a hiring standpoint) and then take care of all of this on the way out.

...unless it's killing you, in which case, call up the dean of students at UofU (my alma matter) and ask them about transferring, etc. I'm sure this won't be the first time they've gotten this sort of call.

What else can I do for you? Be an ear? Make calls?
domenowtrent
Nov. 6th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
I'm a sophomore, and I was just thinking that even if it didn't mean excommunication, I wouldn't be able to afford the non-LDS tuition... so I guess I'm just going to chill.

Some friends of mine are transferring to UofU because 60 credits at a Utah universioty is equivilent to Utah residency. I'll wait until the end of next semester to really think about this sort of stuff.

I was only asking because my roommate, the only one who I can really turn to out here, is transferring to MISSOURI and I will be here alone. ;__;
stoney321
Nov. 6th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
*hugs* And start getting things ready for a potential move. Contact the dean at the U, ask them about any scholarships or grants that might be out there, too. Plus, if you can focus and get your Associates, that's easier to transfer to a new school than if you don't. (ALthough you should be fine, regardless.)

It seems like forever, but this next semester (and the rest of this one) will FLY by once you get your head together and know what you want to do. In the meantime, feel free to rant to me anytime you need. *massive hugs*
scribll
Nov. 6th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
Very funny, now I know why julia_here refered me to you. I live in Houston and I've taken a picture of a beautiful blooming tree I can't identify. If you wouldn't mind, would you take a look at the link in my lj and see if you can tell me what it is?

scribll
stoney321
Nov. 6th, 2006 07:35 pm (UTC)
Hello!!! Julia sent me links to your post, and I was DROOLING at that beautiful garden. I want to say it's a type of Althea (Rose of Sharon) based on the flower, but I don't think that's right. I've contacted the Harris County MG office, and am waiting to hear back from them. I'll let you know! Oooh, I love a good plant mystery!

Good to meet you!
scribll
Nov. 7th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
I think I had my first plant orgasm in that garden.

I don't think it's an Althea Rose. There is a closeup of the flowers in one of the pictures. The blossoms are in clusters of trumpet like flowers. With the drooping habit, the tree reminds me more of a vine. I thought maybe it was some kind of vine that had completely overrun a big crepe myrtle at first, but it's definitely the tree itself. It looks as if it might be tropical, but while we haven't had a hard freeze in a few years, I would've take quite a while to get that big.

Nice to meet you, too.
stoney321
Nov. 7th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
I was going off the assumption that it's a small tree or shrub, but if it's a VINE... (And there is some major structure holding it up)

I'm focusing on the leaf structure, as that will tell me more than just going by the flower (which looks like a cross between a coral vine flower and a hibiscus.) The leaflets look a lot like a Pandorea jasminoides (Pink Bower Vine) or some kind of trumpet vine, which is more likely. Plus, those are pretty rampant growers, so that plant could actually be only a few years old! (You can prune trumpet vine without ruining your blooms: they bloom on old wood.)

All I know is I'm desperate for the restrictions to be lifted up here in DFW so I can redo my beds. This drought we're in has wreaked HAVOC on my garden. (And still waiting to hear back from the Houston MGs...)
scribll
Nov. 7th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
The trunk is about 10 inches in diameter, so I'm pretty sure it's a tree. Being underneath it is like being under a willow tree. The owner has cute birdhouses hanging on the inside. It's probably about 25 feet tall total. (I stink at tree identification.)

I hadn't realized all that rain we'd been getting in Houston hadn't made it very far inland. If you can't water...oh, I feel for ya.
scribll
Nov. 8th, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC)
My bad, it is a vine that has completely overgrown a big crepe myrtle. I stopped by the house this morning wanting to show it to the woman I carpool with. The owner was outside watering and we asked him. He said it was a Podranea and that it blooms from about August to winter. Turns out he makes his living as a horticulturist. The garden is only two years old.
stoney321
Nov. 8th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
How nice to have the time and resources he must have! It's a GORGEOUS garden, and I'm glad to see it's a type of trumpet vine! I didn't know the variety, so YAY FOR YOU ASKING!

Can you believe that's only two years? So. Jealous. THANK YOU!!
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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